Once again that time is upon us where we have to elect a group of people to administer this city, so it came as no surprise to see many of the candidates setting up a booth at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market.
Many folks were stopping to talk with the candidates as they tried in many ways to sway folks to their way of running the city. Fiscal responsibilities, crime reduction, and future planning were just some of the issues that were being talked about.
Fiscal management is something that many have an opinion on but very few have answers that can accommodate all the varied spectrums that develop within a community. I don’t know of a politician who has not promised to be tough on crime, so that also is a topic that can be bandied about for a long time.
We also had attended the ‘Great Reveal’ regarding the plans for the Riverlands area. A lot of great ideas, (probably at extremely high cost), that will do much to enhance an otherwise barren piece of real estate, so that too would be a point of discussion for the election.
Not having spoken with any of the other candidates this morning, there was only one who would freely talk about social issues, especially the street people, the addicted, the handicapped, you know, the ones that everyone would sooner hide somewhere.
Currently the city is applying for a rather large grant to do another study of an obvious situation in order to deal with these folks, but they have openly declared in this info bulletin that no cost would be incurred by the city itself. Nor was there any mention of ways to accommodate these members of our society solely at the city’s behest. It’s a provincial matter; period.
I do know that there are a couple of incumbent councillors who have a great desire and a compassion for these folks, but we need more. At present they have only a very small voice in council and in my opinion that voice has been ignored for far too long. Had there been a more pro-active push to deal with them as the situation developed, they may have used the funding that was there to improve things rather than pull it for another cause. Only after great protest was that funding re-instated to accommodate the warming centre.
Sadly we do have several on council that would sooner roll up the sidewalks at 5 p.m., shipping all street people and other riff raff out on the bus to some other destination. It’s that “Not in my neighborhood” mentality that prohibits growth and solutions to situations, painful sometimes as they are.
Having said all that, I do believe the city has done an excellent job in many areas; I cannot take that away from them. Snow removal, infrastructure improvements and many more efforts have enhanced our city immensely. I, for one enjoy walking around the different areas like the trails, parks and many locations and features that make this city a joy to live in. And in tough times like inclement weather that destroyed so much of our fauna, the city workers stood up to the task extremely well. So, yes it is a great place in which to live.
My only concern now, is who is running for city council that I could easily say I would vote for. For obvious reasons, my leaning would be toward a much more socially responsible group of leaders. I don’t need to study the situation so much anymore, I need to see responsibilities taken seriously. And that includes the alcoholics, drug addicts, mental and physically handicapped.
They also are citizens of Red Deer with the same rights as anyone else.
Chris Salomons is the kithen co-ordinator of Potter’s Hands in Red Deer.